Al Jazeera Children’s Channel glows at Aljazeera International Documentary Film Festival
Al Jazeera Children’s Channel’s "Pencils without lead" was the only Arabic documentary to capture an award at the 4th Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival which took place in Doha from 21 till 24 April 2008. "Pencils without lead" is a 26-minute documentary film that sheds light on the despair that has taken over Iraq, specifically the children of Iraq. The documentary questions how children are able to continue their education amidst the high security risks that have taken Iraqi society hostage.
“We are pleased to achieve this award; it is a clear acknowledgment of Arab Children’s creativity and spontaneity despite their living conditions, their despair. This award, we dedicate to all Iraqi children!”, said Mahmoud Bouneb, Executive General Manager of Al Jazeera Children’s Channel.
In his turn, Walid Fakhreddine, the Director of “Pencils without Lead” said: ”I am overwhelmed! This film has a special place in my heart, given the challenges and risks we have faced in a war zone to make this film and project the conditions in which the children of Iraq live. I would like to express my gratitude to Al Jazeera Children’s Channel for daring to produce a series of documentaries about the children of Iraq and highlight their daily lives”.
“The true winners here are the children of Iraq; “Mohammed Hussein”, “Hadi”, “Zeinab”, and “Abdul Mohaymen” who appeared in this documentary. The real gift for these children would be the right to live in peace and enjoy their innocent infancy”, Walid added.
Roula Moaffaq, the production manager and script writer of the film said: “I am thrilled to win this award. “Pencils without Lead” would not have realized without the support of the one person behind this daring project, Mr. Mahmoud Bouneb, Executive General Manager of Al Jazeera Children’s Channel; should it be without his encouragement to the noble cause of the film, this success would not have prevailed.
"Pencils without lead" tells the story of “Mohammed Hussein” a 15-year-old boy who studied and worked part time to help support his mother and five siblings. Unable to support his family due to illness, Mohammed's father was left with no choice but to pull Mohammed out of school to work. Mohammed's dream of becoming a civil engineer ended when his family’s survival depended on him!
JCC's cameras followed Mohammed and his friends down winding alleys, away from the deadly streets of Baghdad as they make their way to school; and later to their work place where they were obliged to grow up prematurely.
"Pencils without lead" raises unanswered question about the future of these children and others: who is responsible to protect the innocents in times of war and peace?
Gold and Recognition Awards
In less than 3 years, Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, achieved 7 awards in Arab and International Festivals and Conferences:
• ‘Hot Bird TV awards’, New Face 2005 Recognition Award for Thematic TV channel, December 12, 2005.
• ‘Aljazeera International Festival’, Gold Award for Documentary Film by Arab TV Stations, went to “Pakistan 7.6” on March 30, 2006.
• ‘50th New York Festivals’, Gold and Silver World Medals, for ‘Al Sirdab Al Ajeeb’ (Magic Cellar), exclusively broadcast on and distributed by JCC in Arabic.
• Syrian Commission for Family Affairs’ Seminar “The effects of War on Arab families’, Recognition Award, in July 2007.
• 13th Cairo Arab Media Festival, ‘Best Children TV Program’ Gold Award, for “Qal Al Rawi”, in December 2007.
• 13th Cairo Arab Media Festival, “Creativity Prize” for “Best Director” came for JCC’s drama TV series “Gala Gala”, in December 2007.
• Cairo International Film Festival for Children, Gold Award, for the televised magazine “Tariq Al-Najah”.